Johannesburg – ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe believes the solution to the so-called xenophobia in the country is establishing refugee camps.
However, Mantashe does not call it xenophobia, but afrophobia.
“It’s afrophobia and if you look into the content you will see that it’s afrophobia, because when African refugees walk in here they walk in here and go to townships predominantly and there’s a scramble for resources there and the tension takes the form of afrophobia,” he told News24.
“I think it was a good gesture for us to say people must live naturally, but ultimately we must have refugee camps so that we can document people.”
Last year the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said the term xenophobia, which has been used to describe the violence against foreigners, should be called afrophobia.
SAHRC chairperson, advocate Mabedle Lawrence Mushwana reportedly said at the time that there was a difference between xenophobia and violence committed against African foreigners in South Africa.
In KwaZulu-Natal on Friday, shops belonging to foreigners were looted in Durban’s Umlazi township. Two people thought to be Somalians were critically injured when their shop, in a shipping container, was petrol-bombed in W Section, Umlazi.
KwaZulu-Natal police earlier this week said over 1000 immigrants had fled their homes following violent attacks by Durban locals.
Attacks on foreigners flared up in Gauteng in January after 14-year-old Siphiwe Mahori was shot dead outside a Somali-owned shop in Snake Park, Soweto, allegedly by shop owner Alodixashi Sheik Yusuf. A group of people was apparently trying to break into his shop.
This led to a wave of looting of foreign-owned shops, which spread from Soweto to Kagiso on the West Rand and Sebokeng in the Vaal. Several people were killed, including a baby boy trampled by a group of looters.
Mantashe explained that people needed to be educated on the issue, which he blamed on poverty.
“The only thing that you can educate people on is when there are refugee camps and there is a clear relationship of communities and the refugee communities.
“What complicates the matter is that you have those refugees here documented, and you have other people who just walk in and they come here illegally and that complicates that space, and it becomes more complicated.”